What's Keeping Women Out of Tech?

Maggie Kimberl  |

From childhood typecasting to hostile work environments, many women just never get the chance to take off in tech. This infographic from EVIA outlines those problems as well as come solutions and who's getting it right.


  • Women in the World of the Tech Industry is Booming, But Where Are the Women? Women now hold a lower share of computer science jobs than they did in the 1980s—the tech industry has expanded, but opportunities for women have only shrunk
  • Tech Jobs in the U.S.
    • In 2016, there were 7.3 million Americans employed in tech
  • Unemployment across tech positions in 2016 was significantly lower than the national average
    • 4.9% U.S. national average
    • 2.5% Computer science
    • 2.5% Engineering
  • In April 2017, there were 627,000 unfilled positions in tech
  • Tech jobs are flourishing in:
    • Software
    • Cybersecurity and
    • Cloud computing
  • In 2016, tech workers received an average annual salary of $108,900 —> compared to national average of $53,040
  • Women left behind
  • Women make up over 50% of the U.S. workforce, but only
    • 19% computer and information research scientist positions
    • 18% of computer science jobs —> compared to 37% in the 1980s
    • 13% computer hardware engineering positions
    • 12% computer network architect positions
    • 6% computing jobs
    • 5% leadership positions
    • 2% of all information technology patents between 1980 and 2010 were invented by female-only invention teams —> compared to 88% all-male invention teams
  • Leadership
  • Women own only 5% of startups in tech
  • Only 10% women who leave Science, Engineer, Technology (SET) employment positions go on to start their own company
  • Women hold 11% of executive positions in Silicon Valley companies.
  • Achieving equality and success in tech will require serious willpower—from both men and women. But in recent years, women have taken bold steps to fight against the roadblocks.
  • What Holds Women Back?
  • Young girls are discouraged from pursuing STEM as early as elementary
    • According to the Girl Scout Research Institute,
      • 81% of STEM girls are interested in pursuing STEM career
      • Only 13% say it is their first choice
    • According to a survey, girls become interested in STEM at age 11 but lose interest at age 15
      • Factors include:
        • Lack of female mentor
        • Not enough practical, hands-on experience with STEM subjects
        • Gender inequality in STEM jobs
  • Difficulty advancing into leadership roles may be caused by
    • Implicit bias
      • Misperceptions, misinterpretations, misunderstandings lead to —> unconscious biases
      • Can be played out in
        • Subtle, everyday interactions
        • Institutional practices
    • Stereotype threat
      • Defined by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) as “the fear or anxiety that our actions will confirm negative stereotypes about an identity group to which we belong.”
      • Can be triggered by:
        • An all-male or all-white interview team
        • Physical features of the office environment that show a stereotypical male environment such as
          • Stacked soda cans
          • Boxes of video games
          • Comics
          • Science Fiction books
          • Electronic & computer parts
        • Organizations with a “fixed” mindset
  • Discrimination and Harassment
      • Women in male-dominated fields face unique barriers to gaining advancement and respect
        • Of female tech professionals in Silicon Valley
          • 84% have been told they are too aggressive
          • 47% have been asked to do low-level tasks that male colleagues are not asked to do (ordering food, note-taking)
          • 66% have felt excluded from social or networking opportunities because of their gender
          • 87% have experienced demeaning comments from male colleagues
          • 60% have experienced unwanted sexual advances in the office
  • [Call out: “Google Manifesto:” In July 2017, a software engineer at Google posted an anti-diversity memo that created a media firestorm of psychologists, social scientists, and women in tech voicing their disagreement]
  • What has Google done to level the playing field?
    • Jan. 2018: Class-action lawsuit brought against Google by female tech workers claiming they are paid less, assigned to lower positions, and promoted less than similarly qualified males
    • Dr. Astro Teller, head of parent company Alphabet’s research and development division X, has said
      • “We're working incredibly hard to live up on a whole bunch of fronts. I think Alphabet is doing pretty well. I hope that Silicon Valley can end up being a good example of how to fix this [gender inequality] problem."
  • Though controversy continues to plague the tech industry, a growing number of women have achieved significant success—one byte at a time
  • Notable Tech Companies Closing the Gap
  • Intuit
    • Women fill:
      • 38% of the company’s global workforce —> compared to industry average of 30%
      • 27% of overall technology positions —> compared to industry average of 15%
    • How they do it:
      • Invest in the recruitment and retention of women
      • Encourage leadership development among female recruits
      • Establish policies focusing on results rather than time spent in the office
      • Offer flexible work policies & career support, especially those on the management track
  • Salesforce
    • Closed the gender pay gap by
      • Ordering an internal review of 17,000 employees
      • Spending an extra $3 million on payroll
    • Company employee statistics are showing progress
      • 30% of workforce is women (industry average)
      • 19% in leadership positions are women —> compared to industry average of 5%
  • High-Profile Women in Tech
  • Sheryl Sandberg
    • The Chief Operating Officer of Facebook since 2008 with a net worth of $1.6 billion
    • Founder of non-profit organization Lean In, supporting women’s empowerment
    • Previously a vice president at Google for 6 years
  • Marissa Mayer
    • Appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo! In 2012 and became one of 20 women running a Fortune 500 company
    • Previously worked at Google in product development for 13 years
    • Net worth of $540 million
  • Susan Wojcicki
    • Joined Google in 1999 as the company’s first marketing manager
    • Managed the $1.65 billion purchase of Youtube in 2006
    • Appointed CEO of YouTube in February of 2014
  • Many national initiatives and non-profit organizations are devoted to promoting and supporting women in the world of tech. Milestones have been met, but more work awaits.



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